Denise, today’s guest reviewer, is an avid reader and is currently studying library science.
Goodreads: The Story Girl
Series: The Story Girl #1
Summary: Beverley and Felix King have never been to the place that their father grew up, though they have visited time and time again through their father’s tales. Then one summer they are sent to live with their cousins and soon find themselves immersed in the stories in a way only the Story Girl could manage, stories of childhood, family and friendship – a bonding of past, present, and future remembered and retold with the unabashed delight of a child.
Review: Sara Stanley, or the Story Girl as she is known throughout the small town of Carlisle, has been described as “L.M. Montgomery’s most enchanting heroine since Anne of Green Gables,” high praise as any Montgomery devotee knows. And indeed, there is much in the character of the Story Girl that recalls Anne Shirley – from her love of romanticizing and telling stories to her stubborn temper and her preference for dramatic penance. Indeed, The Story Girl could very well be the story of Anne’s childhood had she a family to go to when her parents died, though the Story Girl’s father, at least, is alive and well despite his lack of physical presence in the novel.
In a similar stylistic choice to that of Anne of Green Gables, the story is told through a series of vignettes, held together by the simplicity of time passing as it is wont to do. Structuring the novel this way allows Montgomery to highlight the beauty and fascination that the everyday – the mundane to some – can hold if we but let it. The story is undoubtedly about the Story Girl, but it is told from neither her point of view nor that of an omniscient narrator. Instead, Montgomery chooses Beverely King to be her narrator, an adolescent boy captivated by the world he discovers in Carlisle. Undoubtedly this was a deliberate stylistic decision, perhaps to further differentiate Sara from Anne. At one point in the novel, though, Sara expresses a preference for using spoken word to tell stories for she is much more eloquent that way as opposed to her attempts at writing, so perhaps this decision was an attempt to stay consistent with the character of the Story Girl. Choosing Beverely as her voice also places the reader in the position of experiencing the story from a perspective lodged between the fascination of childhood and the acknowledgement of the adult, a perspective that would have been much more difficult, if not impossible, to have established through an omniscient viewpoint. This was the first Montgomery novel that I have read in which a boy is narrating, though to be quite honest, the story felt no different from others written from a feminine viewpoint.
All in all, The Story Girl is a brilliant work in its own right and brings to its reader an appreciation of the slowness and simplicity of a time past, easily overlooked in a society like ours today. It reminds readers to take time to enjoy the daily pleasures and laugh at the daily tragedies, to be present in a life only too willing to propel us forward at the risk of being left behind.